The mucoid biofilm mode of growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients makes eradication of infections with antibiotic therapy very difficult. The lipopeptide antibiotics polymyxin B and colistin are currently the last-resort therapies for infections caused by multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa. In the present study, we investigated the antibacterial activity of a series of polymyxin lipopeptides (polymyxin B, colistin, FADDI-003, octapeptin A3, and polymyxin A2) against a panel of polymyxin-susceptible and polymyxin-resistant P. aeruginosa cystic fibrosis isolates grown under planktonic or biofilm conditions in artificial sputum and their interactions with sputum component biomolecules. In sputum media under planktonic conditions, the lipopeptides FADDI-003 and octapeptin A3 displayed very promising activity against the polymyxin-resistant isolate FADDI-PA066 (polymyxin B minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) = 32 mg/L), while retaining their activity against the polymyxin-sensitive strains FADDI-PA021 (polymyxin B MIC = 1 mg/L) and FADDI-PA020 (polymyxin B MIC = 2 mg/L). Polymyxin A2 was only effective against the polymyxin-sensitive isolates. However, under biofilm growth conditions, the hydrophobic lipopeptide FADDI-003 was inactive compared to the more hydrophilic lipopeptides, octapeptin A3, polymyxin A2, polymyxin B, and colistin. Transmission electron micrographs revealed octapeptin A3 caused reduction in the cell numbers in biofilm as well as biofilm disruption/"antibiofilm" activity. We therefore assessed the interactions of the lipopeptides with the component sputum biomolecules, mucin, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), surfactant, F-actin, lipopolysaccharide, and phospholipids. We observed the general trend that sputum biomolecules reduce lipopeptide antibacterial activity. Collectively, our data suggests that, in the airways, lipopeptide binding to component sputum biomolecules may reduce antibacterial efficacy and is dependent on the physicochemical properties of the lipopeptide.
- cystic fibrosis
- mucoid "biofilm" growth
- nonmucoid "planktonic" growth
- P. aeruginosa